Maine Places

The Great Outdoors

Maine Places

Here’s my camping conundrum: I want to curl up with my family like a wolf pack in a wooded, secluded spot — that is also accessible by station wagon and within a stone’s throw of running water. In the three years Mark and I have been tenting with our kids, we’ve found plenty of conveniences, but not much solitude, as you can see from this shot of our latest excursion:

These were our closest quarters yet, and probably could have been avoided had we done a bit more research. But we tend to plan our trips last-minute, a practice that leads to quick decision making and less desirable campsites, and limits our travel time. We also like to bring our dog along, so we have missed out on the prime pet-free facilities. (I’m talking to you, Baxter State Park.) When our boys are a little older, I hope to embark on bigger adventures (still talking to you, Baxter) and become a better planner. In the meantime, I am learning to accept the communal camping experience, so long as it continues to accept our carful of air mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, board games, and other crazy “essentials.”

Despite the fishbowl-like location, we had fun on this last trip. We met some lovely people, felt cozy in the tent while we waited out a morning rainstorm, and had a great hike up Sabattus Mountain in Lovell (pictured at top), which looks out at the layered crests of the White Mountain National Forest. And after a noisy first night at the campground, we appreciated the relative quiet that descended on our second evening. “I slept pretty well,” Mark said in the morning, “after the fireworks died down.”

Do you have a peaceful, family-friendly camping spot to recommend? I could really use your suggestions!